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IcoNoc1AsTs


something like an authoritative declaration on the question about images, but in a sense not quite the same as that of the synod of Elvira. Serenus of Marseilles had ordered the destruction of all sacred images within his diocese; this action called forth several letters from Pope Gregory (viii. 2. III; ix. 4. 11), in which he disapproved of that course, and, drawing the distinction which has since been authoritative for the Roman Church, pointed out that“

It is one thing to worship a picture and another to learn from the language of a picture what that is which ought to be worshipped. What those who can read learn by means of writing, that do the uneducated learn by looking at a icture .... That, therefore, ought not to have been destroyed wfiich had been placed in the churches, not for worship, but solely for instructing the minds of the ignorant."

With regard to the symbol of the cross, its public use dates from the time of Constantine, though, according to many Christian archaeologists it had, prior to that date, a very important place in the so-called “ discipline arcani.” The introduction of the crucifix was later; originally the favourite combination was that of the figure of a lamb lying at the foot of the cross; the council of Constantinople, called “ in Trullo, ” in 692 enjoined that this symbol should be discontinued, and that where Christ was shown in connexion with his cross he should be represented in his human nature. In the catacombs Christ is never represented hanging on the cross, and the cross itself is only portrayed in a veiled and hesitating manner. In the Egyptian churches the cross was a pagan symbol of life borrowed by the Christians and interpreted in the pagan manner. The cross of the early Christian emperors was a labarum or token of victory in war, a standard for use in battle. Religious feeling in the West recoiled from the crucifix as late as the 6th century, and it was equally abhorrent to the Monophysites of the East who regarded the human nature of Christ as swallowed up in the divine. Nevertheless it seems to have originated in the East, perhaps as a protest against the extreme Monophysites, who even denied the possibility of Christ. Perhaps the Nestorians, who clung to the human aspect of Christ, introduced it about 550. From the East it soon passed to the West.

Not until the 8th century were the religious and theological questions which connect themselves with image-worship distinctly raised in the Eastern Church in their entirety. The controversy began with an address which Leo the Isaurian, in the tenth year of his reign (726), delivered in public “ in favour of overthrowing the holy and venerable images, ” as says Theophanes (Chronogvz, in Migne Pair. Gr. IOS, 816). This emperor had, in the years 717 and 718, hurled back the tide of Arab conquest which threatened to engulf Byzantium, and had also shown himself an able statesman and legislator. Born at Germanicia in Syria, and, before he mounted the throne, captain-general of the Anatolian theme, he had come under the influence of the anti-idolatrous sects, such as the Jews, Montanists, Paulicians and Manicheans, which abounded in Asia Minor, but of which he was otherwise no friend. But his religious reform was unpopular, especially among the women, who killed an official who, by the emperor's command, was destroying an image of Christ in the vestibule of the imperial palace of Chalcé. This émeulc provoked severe reprisals, and the partisans of the images were mutilated and killed, or beaten and exiled. A rival emperor even, Agallianus, was set up, who perished in his attempt to seize Constantinople. Italy also rose in arms, and Pope Gregory II. wrote to Leo blaming his interference in religious matters, though he dissuaded the rebels in Venetia, the Exarchate and the Pentapolis from electing a new emperor and marching against Leo. In 7 30 Germanus the patriarch resigned rather than subscribe to a decree condemning images; later he was strangled in exile and replaced by an iconoclast, Anastasius. Meanwhile, inside the Arab empire, John of Damascus wrote his three dogmatic discourses against the traducers of images, arguing that their use was not idolatry but only a relative worship (irpoaxizunrns 0'X€TLK';)). The next pope, Gregory III. convoked a council of ninety-three bishops, which excommunicated the iconoclasts, and the fleet which Leo sent to retaliate on the Latin peninsula was lost in a storm in the Adriatic. The most Leo was able to do was to double the tribute of Calabria and Sicily, confiscate the pope's revenues there, and impose on the bishops of south Italy a servitude to Byzantium which lasted for centuries. V

Leo III. died in June 740, and then his son Constantine V. began a persecution of the image-worshippers in real earnest. In his eagerness to restore the simplicity of the primitive church he even assailed Mariolatry, intercession of saints, relics and perhaps infant baptism, to the scandal even of the iconoclast bishops themselves. His reign began with the seizure for eighteen months of Constantinople by his brother-in-law Artavasdes, who temporarily restored the images. He was captured and beheaded with his accomplices in November 742, and in February 754 Constantine held in the palace of Hieria a council of 388 bishops, mostly of the East; the patriarchs of Rome, Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem refused to attend. In it images were condemned, but the other equally conservative leanings of the emperor found no favour. The chief upholders of images, the patriarch Germanus, George of Cyprus and John of Damascus, were anathematized, and Christians forbidden to adore or make images or even to hide them. These decrees were obstinately resisted, especially by the monks, large numbers of whom fled to Italy. In 765 the emperor demanded of his subjects all over his empire an oath on the cross that they detested images, and St Stephen the younger, the chief upholder of them, was murdered in the streets. A regular crusade now began against monks and nuns, and images and relics were destroyed on a great scale. In parts of Asia Minor (Lydia and Cana) the monks were even forced to marry the nuns. In 769 Pope Stephen III, condemned the council of Hieria, and in 775 Constantine V. died. His son Leo IV. died in 780, leaving a widow, Irene, of Athenian birth, who seized the opportunity presented by the minority of her ten-year-old son Constantine VI. to restore the images and dispersed relics. In 784 she invited Pope .Adrian I. to come and preside over a fresh council, which was to reverse that of 754 and heal the schism with Rome. In August 786 the council met, but was broken up by the imperial guards, who were Easterns and sturdy iconoclasts. Irene replaced them by a more trustworthy force, and convoked a fresh council of three hundred bishops and monks innumerable in September 787, at Nicaea in the church of St Sophia. The cult of images was now solemnly restored, iconoclast bishops deposed or reconciled, the dogmatic theory of images defined, and church discipline re-established. The order thus imposed lasted twenty-four years, until a military revolution placed a soldier of fortune, half Armenian, half Persian, named Leo, on the throne; he, like his soldiers, was persuaded that the ill-success of the Roman arms against Bulgarians and other invaders was due to the idolatry rampant at court and elsewhere. The soldiers stoned the image of Christ which Irene had *set up afresh in the palace of Chalcé, and this provoked a counter-demonstration of the clergy. Leo feigned for a while to be on their side, but on the 2nd of February 815, in the sanctuary of St Sophia, publicly refused to prostrate himself before the images, with the approbation of the army and of many bishops who were iconoclasts at heart. Irene's patriarch Nicephorus was now deposed and one Theodotus, a kinsman of Constantine Copronymus, consecrated in his place on the 1st of April 815. A fresh council was soon convoked, which cursed Irene and re-enacted the decrees of 754. This reaction lasted only for a generation under Leo the Armenian, who died 820, Michael II. 820-829, and Theophilus 829-842; and was frustrated mainly by the exertions of Theodore of Studion and his monks, called the Studitae. Theodore refused to attend or recognize the new council, and was banished first to Bithynia and thence to Smyrna, whence he continued to address his appeals to the pope, to the eastern patriarchs and to his dispersed monks. He died in 826. Theophilus, the last of the iconoclast emperors, was a devoted Mariolater and controversialist who invited the monks to discuss the question of images with him, and whipped or branded them when he was

out-argued; he at length banished them from the cities, and